Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Tired and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning?
We all get the blues occasionally. You don’t live on top of the mountain all the time, but you’re not usually hanging around the bottom all the time either. Temporary “blues” are normal and part of the Human Experience, but when the feeling is prolonged, it can be the early stages of depression. Depression amplifies your feelings of unhappiness, continues for prolonged periods of time and deters you from leading a normal life. Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.

Sleep deprivation or sleep apnea does not cause depression. Not getting enough sleep, however, contributes to your depression. Depression is exacerbated when you don’t sleep, or when you don’t sleep well; it upsets your normal, daily routine.

Recent reports have implied that people suffering from sleep disorders are more prone to developing depression and similar symptoms. In this case, the severity of the sleep disorder is directly connected to the risk of depression. The less quantity and quality of sleep you get each night are reflected in the seriousness of the symptoms. Another study indicates individuals suffering from depression are five times more likely to also have a breathing-related sleep disorder. This is compared to people not living with depression.

Antidepressant medication is linked to sleep disorders.

Most physicians prescribe an antidepressant if a diagnosis of depression is made. Antidepressants primarily work on brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin and norepinephrine. Other antidepressants work on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Scientists have found that these particular chemicals are involved in regulating mood, but they are unsure of the exact ways that they work. The latest information on medications for treating depression is available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. These medications can be, literally, life-saving. Medications routinely provide patients to live a more even keeled lifestyle, without so many ups and downs. However, some antidepressants act in the opposite way: they make people more depressed. If you are experiencing anything related to worsening symptoms, please contact your doctor or mental health specialist immediately. Some antidepressants can trigger sleep disorders. An example of this is REM behavior disorder, a sleep disorder that frequently finds while people acting out their dreams, often violently.

Good Sleep Hygiene

Create a regular sleep-wake routine
  • Try going to bed at the same time every night
  • Go to bed only if sleepy
  • If not sleepy, engage in a relaxing activity
  • Try to avoid taking daytime naps

Turn your bedroom into a place where you can relax and rejuvenate
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool
  • No children or pets sleeping with you
  • Politely ask your bed partner to treat his/her snoring
  • Consider using a fan or other ‘white noise’
  • Keep the room dark; use night lights sparingly as needed (blue light)
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature
  • Use the bedroom for sleep and sex ONLY
  • NO television or computers in your bedroom
  • Make every effort to make your sleeping environment comfortable
  • Save your money and buy a good mattress
  • Find the right pillows
  • Keep night lights to a minimum and turn around bright LED clocks
  • Avoid “clock watching”—it doesn’t make a difference

Change your daytime routine to create a better nighttime experience
  • Regular exercise improves sleep quality—just don’t exercise within a few hours of bedtime
  • Avoid large meals within 3 hours of bedtime
  • Especially heavy or spicy foods that cause indigestion, which worsens as you are laying down
  • Especially fatty, rich food which require more work to digest
  • Avoid stimulants
  • NO caffeine—its effect can last up to 10 hours
  • Remember—caffeine exists in chocolate, dark sodas, and teas. IF you MUST, cut it off earlier in the day
  • NO smoking—nicotine increases the time it takes to fall asleep and causes poor-quality sleep, as smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses
  • Avoid alcohol- A cocktail may help you fall asleep, but it will cause frequent awakenings later in the night and disrupt REM (dream) sleep
  • Avoid drinking too much fluid before bedtime
  • Frequent bathroom visits interrupt a good night’s sleep
  • Relax before you sleep
  • Read a book or listen to music
  • Avoid any activity that creates stress or requires significant mental efforts (don’t check your work schedule or email)
  • Take a warm bath 90 minutes prior to bedtime
  • Reach up and physically tweak your ears and tell yourself that you’re a turning off your brain
  • Don’t lie in bed awake
  • If unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and engage in something relaxing
  • Return to bed when sleepy
Ask Dr. Struble

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